Read the full article by Grace van Deelen (Environmental Health News)

“Toxic PFAS are often added into consumer products to make items stain- or water-resistant. But mounting evidence indicates that many products made without the intentional addition of PFAS are also contaminated.

Researchers say these products may unintentionally become contaminated with PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, during the manufacturing or distribution process, raising concerns about entry points of PFAS into the supply chain that are not yet fully understood.

PFAS are linked to negative health outcomes including some cancers, reproductive problems, and birth defects, among others. Some manufacturers, such as cosmetics companies, will disclose the addition of the chemicals so consumers can determine their own exposure.

What’s harder to avoid, however, are those products that contain PFAS even when the manufacturers themselves may not know. Because of the widespread use of PFAS across industries, there are many ways that these ‘forever chemicals’ can contaminate consumer goods—including manufacturing lubricants and coatings, misidentified raw materials, pesticides, personal protective equipment, and plastic packaging.

Marta Venier, an assistant professor at Indiana University who studies the transport of PFAS, told EHN that the high number of uses of PFAS in manufacturing means that products move through a ‘jungle’ of possible contaminations before reaching the consumer.

PFAS contamination during manufacturing

Venier said it’s possible that coatings or lubricants used on manufacturing equipment or in factories can contain PFAS, which then transfer to the products made in such facilities. In such cases, the level of PFAS that is transferred to the product is low, but detectable, said Venier. Venier and Miriam Diamond, an environmental chemist at the University of Toronto, mentioned conveyor belt lubricant as a possible PFAS source.

Rainier Lohmann, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Rhode Island, also pointed to the possibility of contamination from slip agents—substances used in manufacturing to help mass-produced products slide easily out of molds.”…